Monday, September 26, 2011

The First Six (out of probably 100) Embarrassing Reasons I Want to Lose Weight

This really and truly is embarrassing but I think I need to get it out there. It's connected with shame and self-hate, and I know those feelings are not emotionally healthy and don't bode well for weight loss.

1. Normal weight people don't know how uncomfortable it is to work in a sedentary job and not be able to comfortably cross your legs. I unconsciously look for table legs or other people's chairs to "hook" my foot around or prop my leg against so I can have my legs crossed. If there is nothing to hook to or prop against, I sometimes cross my legs and then, with my hand, hold my crossed leg by the hem of my pants or the strap of my shoe. In Jennyland, no one notices that. But, I think people probably do in the real world.

2. I've fallen more frequently as I've gotten older. Stairs are scary. I think part of this is because I literally can't see my feet as I walk down stairs. And, when I do fall, it's like a ship going down. Last Halloween, I fell while the big pockets of my Halloween costume were full of candy to hand out to children at the carnival. I looked like a parade float with a broken axle. Candy flying everywhere! I was surrounded by people in a church parking lot and the ambulance had to be called because I knew I had broken bones. I sat on the asphalt waiting for the ambulance feeling such embarrassment and shame, and wondering how they were ever going to get me up.

God bless the EMT that helped me get on the stretcher. I told him that I didn't think he could pick me up and he whispered to me that his girlfriend was bigger than me and he picked her up "all the time". Yeah, right. But what a sweetheart.

(At the Halloween Carnival before the fall.)

Part of what was soooo mortifying about waiting to be picked up off the parking lot was my memory of Carol Jean from the summer before. I've written about Carol Jean - my super-sized friend with a heart to match. The summer that she was dying of cancer, I spent a month in Lubbock "helping" her. Really, I was just soaking up as much of her wisdom, kindness, and hilarity as possible. Carol Jean was totally bedridden. Cancer had spread throughout her body and, with chemo AND weight problems, she could only stand next to her bed to use the porta-potty. And even that was an absolute ordeal for her. One morning, as I watched her sit herself on the porta-potty, she stepped in such a way that twisted her ankle. She was stuck on the toilet. I tried to help her get back in bed to no avail. I suggested we call the hospice people but she was worried because her hospice nurse was "little". I suggested we call our friend, Doug, but she thought he would probably still be asleep.

Carol Jean sat on that toilet for HOURS while I paced around and wrung my hands. She finally told me to call the fire department that was a few blocks from her home.

EIGHT firemen came over. All traipsing through her living room. Four of them lifted Carol Jean off the toilet while one moved the porta-potty and three stood there gawking. Even the fact that she was dying did not lessen the shame that Carol Jean felt. We talked and cried about it for hours.

People get upset when they "gain a few pounds". But most people don't have an inkling to the emotional torture that weight can cause.

3. The idea of losing my ability to move and therefore, my personal freedom, is incredibly scary. I went fifty-six years without any joint pain. Pretty amazing given the fact that I was overweight twenty-four of those years. But eighteen months ago, my knee started hurting. Arthritis. Then, last Halloween's fall broke my elbow and bruised the knee cap of the other knee. And then, my broken shoulder from a fall out of a tree in the 5th grade started bothering me. Last fall and winter, ALL FOUR LIMBS HURT, ALL THE TIME. Talk about frightening! I'm better now but never want to go through that again.

4. I want a bath. I LOVE bubble baths. I LOVE to read in the bathtub. I LOVE to lounge in hot water and imagine myself in an exotic location. Now, I am scared to take a bath because I'm afraid I won't be able to get out.

It's like I've let weight slam a door in my face.

I haven't had a bath since my broken elbow. Don't worry - I have had a few showers.

5. And along with bathing, I want to be able to sit on the floor. Well, I can sit on the floor, but it takes heavy furniture, other people, and acts of God to get me up.

I am a therapist who specializes in working with children. I have dogs that I want to lay with on the floor. I have things stuck under my bed. I need to be able to get up and down off the floor!!!

6. It really is like Skinny Jenny is stuck in this big shell. My mind and my heart want to do so many things that my body just can't do at this weight. Skinny Jenny wants to ride rides at the fair, Skinny Jenny wants to walk with the homecoming parade, Skinny Jenny wants to skip, Skinny Jenny wants to go off the diving board, Skinny Jenny wants to go on a rafting trip, Skinny Jenny wants to learn to scuba dive, Skinny Jenny wants to buy clothes on the skinny side of Fashion Bug rather than the plus side. I WANT OUT OF THIS SHELL THAT I'VE PLACED MYSELF IN!!


But, guess what? I walked around the middle school track one time during lunch today. I know it was only one time. Five minutes. But, it's a start.



  1. I'm so proud of you!

    You are my hero...

  2. uh .. made me cry ! I'm sure skinny Jenny will find her way out, because you are so determined.
    Love, Lene

  3. You can do it, Jen. I weight 262 lbs in 2007 and now I'm hoovering around 200...that's what I weighed in 8th grade!

  4. Once is way more than none. Way to go, Jen!

  5. Awesome! Jen this blog is helping me too.

  6. that hit a nerve! I'm afraid of many of those same things and I have a hard time getting up off the ground too. Crazy considering I do Tae Kwon Do.